Description: Distributed point-focusing solar concentrators are being developed for dish-Stirling systems and other applications. Many of these concentrators make use of faceted mirrors that have to be accurately aligned. Some of the solar concentrator designs use stretched-membrane facets that also require focusing. Accurate mirror alignment and focus of faceted solar concentrators have two benefits. First, the concentration ratio of the concentrator/receiver (collector) system is improved with accurate alignment and focus. The receiver aperture diameter can therefore be smaller, thereby reducing thermal losses from the receiver and improving the overall efficiency of the collector. Second, and perhaps more importantly, flux intensities on the receiver can be sensitive to facet alignment and focus. In this paper, the theory and practical application of an alignment and focusing technique are presented. In the technique, light from an artificial source is reflected from the concentrator`s facets to a target. From basic geometric principles, the shape and location of the reflected light on the target can be predicted. Alignment is accomplished by adjusting the facets aim so that the reflected image falls on the predetermined location. To focus a stretched-membrane facet, the reflected image size is adjusted to match that of the target. The governing equations used to draw the alignment targets are developed and the practical application of the technique to the alignment and focus of the Cummins Power Generation, Inc. CPG-460 are presented. Alignment uncertainty associated with this technique on the CPG-460 is also discussed.
Date: November 1, 1994
Creator: Diver, R. B.
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